Across the Universe is one of those cleverly written YA novels that introduces science fiction to those teen girls who are somewhat averse to the over-complications of the sci-fi genre. It does this pretty well, but never well enough to be in the same league as series like The Hunger Games.
This much more the stuff of science fiction though: cryo chambers, a monoethnic race, spaceship life, hundreds of year in the future. And yet it never feels as heavy as so many novels with elements such as these tend to be, perhaps because it happens through the minds of a couple of teens.
Amy and her parents are put into cryo chambers to sleep for 300 years in anticipation for colonizing a new planet. These cryo chambers are occupied by military officials and other important individuals to help in this colonization. Except Amy, she’s non-essential. While they’re asleep a new race of people will run the ship as it makes its way to the new planet. When Amy is awakened about 100 years too early, she learns about the strange society that has taken root. One ruled by a man named Eldest and his strangely loyal subjects. Amy and the next in line to power, Elder, befriend each other and discover the great web of secrets about the ship.
The novel is told entirely in the first person, alternating between Amy and Elder each chapter. Now because I listened to this book via audiobook, I was able to hear the voice actors take on emotions and personality of each character. I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, and I think if I could have I would have preferred to read the novel. I felt a constant suspension of disbelief listening to the female actor for Amy, although I found my experience listening to the male actor voicing Elder to be far worse.
Amy sounded very teenish, which probably was true to the character, however I already knew I was reading a young adult novel. I would have preferred a less “in your face” portrayal of this. There are many times in which Amy mentions the short, clipped accents of the people aboard the ship. The voice actor for Elder didn’t have this accent so it removed me from the experience of this novel.